Page 16 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - January 2018 - 25-01
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Page 16 Senior Times - January 2018
SIBLING RIVALRY DOESN’T STOP AT THE
FRONT DOOR
Sibling rivalry can be one of the most challenging sources of turmoil families face, even into adulthood. Sometimes it kicks into full gear after adulthood as emotions arise from resentment, judgement, and more.
Forgiveness and Repentance in Sibling Relationships – Although siblings grow
up in the same household, each has distinct personalities and interests. These differences can trigger conflict, even after we become adults. If we practice principles of kindness, repentance, forgiveness, charity, love, and generosity, we're more likely to build har- monious relationships with our adult broth- ers and sisters. When sibling rivalry causes deep rifts, forgiveness can be a healing balm. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to do.
We may feel so hurt by a sibling that we con- clude his or her actions are beyond repentance.
Sometimes we need to forgive even when a sibling hasn't asked to be forgiven.
This principle is especially important in families where tiny molehills of misunder- standing are fanned into mountains of argu- ment. If a sibling has wronged us, we can't control when he or she seeks our pardon, if they ever do. In the meantime, if we choose to hold grudges or harbor resentment, then that pain can often be passed on to future generations.
If we are the one who has wronged a sib- ling, it's up to us to change our hearts. Don’t expect acceptance overnight but when your sibling sees your commitment to change, your relationships with others will improve, and hopefully them as well.
By: Sherii Sherban, Publisher, Senior Times
Sibling Rivalry Doesn’t Stop at the Front Door – If we've had conflict with sib- lings in the past, it's rarely too late to make a new start. It just requires commitment to the effort. Sibling rivalry can be taken into many aspects of our everyday life without even realizing it, especially as is pertains to patterns of communication and handling dis- agreements. Consider the following:
Conflicts in our roles as spouses. When spouses experience marital problems, they sometimes lock horns and defend their status as “the one who is right.” At times, it takes
a bulldozer to bring both partners to the bar- gaining table. Rather than view the discus- sion of problems as the road to solutions, the underlying battle sometimes becomes “there is nothing wrong with me.” We may confuse our need to be right with our willingness to fix our relationships.
Birth order may influence our roles as parents. Raising children requires the on- going adjustment of power in relationships. Healthy children must eventually develop their own identity, separate and apart from their parents. When conflicts arise, parents and children may bicker endlessly for control of their relationship. As they grow, firstborn children may be able to intimidate their par- ents if their parents were latter born children. They may demand a form of respect that we we’re not prepared to give. Both children and parents can make mistakes, and both must learn to apologize when they are wrong, to forgive when they are right, and to respect each others’ differences when they disagree. If, however, our pride gets in the way and we find ourselves competing with our children, we may be re-enacting
old battles.
Conflicts between grown children and parents. While few of us are comfortable with the aging process, even fewer of us want to feel treated like “children” by our children. Older adults sometimes feel a loss of status when their previous strengths seem frail by comparison. Parents who were once in charge and all-powerful, often have difficulty relin- quishing their authority and allowing them- selves to be cared for by their grown children. But this reversal of roles is a natural part of life. Adult children need to show their elderly parents sufficient concern, and aging parents need to show their children adequate appre- ciation. Most of us simply want respect, but in the name of stubbornness, some elders may refuse to anoint their children as their succes- sors; and in the name of stubbornness, some grown children may decide to abort family traditions.
As adults, we have the opportunity to function effectively with those around us. Even if we always got our own way as chil- dren, we do not have the right to make all the rules, and we do not have the right to punish each other. Unfinished business from child- hood can last a lifetime if we let it. So let
it go and start behaving like an adult; make amends.
Sadly, if sibling rivalry is not addressed, it can be the thing that causes the loss of a par- ent to be far more difficult. Is it hopeless? I think not.
We all know, and yet dread, that our par- ents will someday move on. While it’s never pleasant to think about, it is still a reality. I have watched time and time again as the tran- sition can cause or enhance sibling fighting and frustrations. Whether it’s the clock that everyone wants or the hurt feelings because
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